Recent reports in the press have highlighted the case of Eastenders actress Gillian Taylforth who will receive nothing from the Estate of her ex-fiancé as he had not written a will.  It is often the case that celebrity Wills and those of their partners often catch the media’s attention.  The deaths of George Best, Bernard Matthews and Jade Goody have all raised inheritance issues.  Most notable was the case of Peter Sellars whose fortune eventually passed to the children of his estranged wife, leaving his own children with almost nothing at all.

Common Inheritance Myths

The simple fact is that if you are in a relationship, but not married or in a civil partnership with that person, then if you die without a will your partner has no automatic right to receive any of your Estate.

The concept of common law spouse is all but a myth and exists, in legal terms, in very limited circumstances with no guarantee that a common law spouse will receive anything from their deceased partner’s Estate.

There are a number of other common misconceptions about what happens to your estate if you don’t have a will; including that your estate will all automatically pass your spouse or, in some circumstances, that it all goes to the Government!

How to Avoid Inheritance Confusion and Unnecessary Expense

MW are proud to attend tonights SIA Thanksgiving with special guest Talan-Skeels Piggins.

About Talan Skeels-Piggins

Talan Skeels Piggins
Talan Skeels-Piggins

Motivational speaker, winner of the 600cc paraplegic class at the Di. Di. World Bridgestone Cup, GB Paralympian and Founder of The Bike Experience.

At the start of 2003 Talan was an active PE Teacher and ex Royal Navy Lieutenant.  On March 8th 2003 he suffered a motorcycle accident, which shattered his back and fractured his neck in several places.  Initially just given 30% chance of survival and told to expect a hospital stay of 2 years, Talan was left paralysed from the chest down.  Eight days after the accident he set myself the goal of learning to ski, getting into the GB Team and competing at the 2010 Winter Paralympics.   This has since happened, and Talan is now part of the world’s first privately funded disabled race team. 

This truly remarkable team was thought up by Talan in 2011.  The team’s first solo race with the approval of the ACU was in 2012 with Club Thundersport.  Since then, the team has raced in Assen in a 3 hour endurance race as well as few select races in the UK.  2014 saw the team sponsored by McMillan Williams Solicitors Ltd and for the first time, race a full season with 3 national racing clubs.  Following on from the success of 2014, the team expanded for 2015 to include 2 new riders:  1 paraplegic and 1 above knee amputee.  With 2016 around the corner, watch this space for more exciting racing ahead!

You can find out more about the inspirational Talan Skeels-Piggins at

About The Spinal Injuries Association

The Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is the leading national user-led charity for spinal cord injured (SCI) people.  Being user led, they are well placed to understand the everyday needs of living with spinal cord injury and to meet those needs by providing key services to share information and experiences, and to campaign for change ensuring each person can lead a full and active life.  They exist to support you from the moment your spinal cord injury happens, and for the rest of your life.

You can find out more about the work of the SIA at

11th November saw McMillan Williams and Enabling Enterprise team up for our second schools event of the year.

A group of prize winning students from Coopers School, Chislehurst joined us at MW House for the "Listen Up Lawyers" Challenge.  They got the opportunity to act as either the prosecution or defence team in one of our two mock trials, a civil law case involving a hospital and a criminal law case with a potential charge of terrorism.

The students had to listen carefully to the different pieces of evidence, prepare their cases by decide what the most compelling arguments would be.  The exercise is designed to hone the students Problem solving and Sharing Ideas skills.

MW thanks Enabling Enterprise for making this event happen and wish all the Coopers students the best for the future, whatever career path they may choose.

Safer Lorries Scheme

On 01 September 2015 the Safer Lorry Scheme came into operation in London.  McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited specialist Solicitor and Qualified Transport Manager, Malcolm Haddow, explains what this means to operators of goods vehicles who enter the London Low Emission Zone.

As a result of the number of cyclist deaths being associated with trucks and lorries in excess of 3.5T, Transport for London have brought in the Safer Lorry Scheme to get all vehicles built after 01 January 1983 to have minimum levels of safety equipment fitted to them if they wish to operate within London.

There are two main requirements:

  • Side guards to be fitted to both sides of the vehicles of a type and size sufficient to prevent cyclists or pedestrians going underneath the vehicle in the event of a collision;
  • Mirrors of class V or VI (that are not less than 2 metres from the ground regardless of adjustment) to give drivers a better view of cyclists and pedestrians around their vehicle.

Most modern vehicles may already be compliant, or may require minimum modifications to make them compliant.  The scheme has been predominately aimed at bringing older vehicles up to modern standards as well as those used in the construction industry since these typically lack the protection elements due to the type of work they are used for.

There are a number of exemptions to vehicles, whereby the ability to fit the modifications is not possible, or they are subject to special use, such as Fire Brigade or Ambulance.  It is anticipated that most goods vehicles will fall within the scope of the scheme and the need to comply is paramount to avoid financial, criminal and Traffic Commissioner sanctions

Penalties for Non-Compliance

Any vehicle being used in the London Low Emission Zone which falls within the scheme and is not compliant will be subject to an on the spot £50 penalty as well as up to £1,000 fine per offence at a Magistrates Court.  There is also an intention to report the owners of non-compliant vehicles to the Traffic Commissioner for England & Wales for possible further sanctions.

How McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited can help

McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited have a great deal of experience assisting transport companies with a variety of matters.  We can typically help with:

  • Representation before the Traffic Commissioner for England & Wales at Public Inquiries
  • Representation at Magistrates Court on driver’s hours offences
  • Assisting those forming a Transport Company
  • Assisting those Transport Companies that are struggling
  • Assisting Transport Companies with debt collection and contract disputes
  • Assisting Transport Companies with drafting contracts or terms and conditions

Our specialist solicitors recognise the need to provide pro-active, accurate and fast advice, we know that the regulations around the use of freight transport vehicles can be a minefield and McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited have the ability to provide you with the assistance you need.

At McMillan Williams Solicitors Limited we have a team of solicitors dedicated to helping YOUR transport business, so whether you have issues with drivers hours, the new Safer Lorry Scheme or have been summoned to a Public Inquiry, we can assist on tel: 0203 551 8500 or you can email us at

Nicola Jones-King, Partner and Deputy Head of our Family and Children Law Department gave evidence to the House of Commons Justice Committee as part of their enquiry into the effects of the Legal Aid and Sentencing of Offenders Act.  This Act introduced significant changes to Legal Aid in family cases but was intended to ensure Legal Aid remained available for vulnerable people and children.  Legal Aid was taken away from divorce, residence and contact (now Child Arrangement Orders) and financial order proceedings.  Unless the individual had been the victim of domestic abuse or the child is said to be at risk of harm.  These two exemptions are established by producing specific documents to the Legal Aid Agency and only certain documents will do.  Legal Aid remains for mediation, for children who are parties to a case or applications brought by Social Services.  The concept of exceptional funding was expanded all allowing individuals (or solicitors on their behalf) to seek Legal Aid, if without it they would be unable to access justice and their human rights would be infringed.

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